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So, what's up with the shortage of turbo trainers?

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Road Cycling “It is by riding a bicycle that you learn the contours of a country best, since you have to sweat up the hills and coast down them. Thus you remember them as they actually are, while in a motor car only a high hill impresses you, and you have no such accurate remembrance of country you have driven through as you gain by riding a bicycle.” -- Ernest Hemingway

So, what's up with the shortage of turbo trainers?

Old 10-29-20, 07:36 PM
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I just bought a (refurbished) Kickr Core to replace my Snap. I was planning on waiting a few weeks to see if Wahoo or REI would have their usual Black Friday sales, but with with how quickly trainers have been moving, I figured it wasn't worth the risk of missing out on one entirely.
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Old 10-29-20, 07:48 PM
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Old 10-30-20, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
Okay, but even if you revise the numbers to $3,000 bikes and $1,000 trainers my point is that a $2200 Peloton and a $40/mo subscription is not an outrageously expensive purchase in the context of Road Cycling, which is a fairly expensive hobby.
You're missing the point of perceived value. The fact that an outdoor bike with indoor attachment costs $4k has nothing to do with whether $2200 is expensive in abstract - that'd be a very expensive smartphone, for example. And when you say "but that's not a bike thing", that's my point - the fact that a Peloton can't be ridden outside means that within the context of Road Cycling, the Peloton isn't, so people willing to spend on their hobby don't include it under the umbrella of things worth the price tag.
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Old 10-30-20, 07:30 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
A lot of people bought bikes as a way to exercise without going to the gym. It's not really surprising that trainers are in high demand as we move into colder weather.

I'm hoping to get through this winter with my rollers and dumb trainer, and after we kick COVID in the nuts maybe I can find someone looking to offload a barely used Wahoo Kickr in the spring for a discount.
Yes. I would have thought that these people would have bought cheaper trainers (IE non direct-drive ones) - just like my first bike was a cheap one since I wasn't sure to like cycling - but it seems like they are all out of stock. Oh well.

Last edited by eduskator; 10-30-20 at 07:33 AM.
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Old 10-30-20, 07:53 AM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
Yes. I would have thought that these people would have bought cheaper trainers (IE non direct-drive ones) - just like my first bike was a cheap one since I wasn't sure to like cycling - but it seems like they are all out of stock. Oh well.
Are they actually out of stock though?
I haven't really shopped for these so maybe this is unusual, but REI's website currently has a bunch of different trainers from multiple manufacturers available to buy, both wheel on and direct drive. Wahoo, Tacx, Saris, Elite. One model (the $750 Tacx) says "inventory low, order soon" but it looks like the rest are available to buy immediately.
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Old 10-30-20, 09:22 AM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
Are they actually out of stock though?
I haven't really shopped for these so maybe this is unusual, but REI's website currently has a bunch of different trainers from multiple manufacturers available to buy, both wheel on and direct drive. Wahoo, Tacx, Saris, Elite. One model (the $750 Tacx) says "inventory low, order soon" but it looks like the rest are available to buy immediately.
The Wahoo Kickr has been going in and out of stock at REI recently.
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Old 10-30-20, 06:01 PM
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I recently got a Wahoo Kickr Core and just lucked into it. They were on back order for about 6 weeks and then boom, they had some, so I snapped one up. I sold my Wahoo Kickr Snap on eBay and the listing was up for about 5 mins. I noticed my LBS had 5 of the Kickr's in stock the other day, when I went by today, they 2 left. Told me that a guy bought 3 of them and was shipping them up north for a couple of friends of his that have been looking for them.
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Old 10-30-20, 10:10 PM
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Originally Posted by msu2001la
Okay, but even if you revise the numbers to $3,000 bikes and $1,000 trainers my point is that a $2200 Peloton and a $40/mo subscription is not an outrageously expensive purchase in the context of Road Cycling, which is a fairly expensive hobby.
But people laugh at you when you try to ride your Peloton on the road.

At least my overpriced bicycle is actually a bicycle, whether it’s attached to my overpriced trainer or just sitting on overpriced tires.
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Old 10-31-20, 08:22 AM
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Originally Posted by blakcloud
I was just lucky that I purchased my smart trainer before the pandemic hit. Best investment I ever made. I just sold two dumb trainers, Cyclops and Kurt Kinetic and they sold within 30 minutes of posting on Kijiji. The price was not pandemic pricing so that helped to sell them quickly. Toronto for reference.
Same here. After months of debating which trainer to get, I finally ordered my Wahoo CORE on February of this year, exactly a month before the lockdown.

Boy did I get lucky.

I still have my CycleOps and Kinetic trainers, just in case.
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Old 11-02-20, 04:00 PM
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Here in California, we had two waves. The first was Covid (at one point, we had a 5-mile radius restriction from our house, which was enforced). A LOT of people bough trainers then, including myself and several of my riding buddies. More recently, there were the fires, which actually did more to curb outdoor riding than Covid because for over 6 weeks, it was hit and miss whether you could go outside anytime, much less on a weekend morning with your mates. The last holdouts in my group bought their trainers then. I do believe, however, that many people that bought trainers early during Covid as "panic buying" set in, will dump them on Craigslist soon. This is not only because things are loosening up and outdoor riding is returning to normal, but also because like most pieces of exercise equipment purchased by those that are not 100% committed, they often end up collecting dust in the corner of the garage.
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Old 11-05-20, 07:51 AM
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Originally Posted by WhyFi
The thing that hurts my sensibilities is when someone that doesn't have a nice bike buys a peloton. I guess that route is easier for the uninitiated, but you could get a trainer and a snazzy bike, that works inside and outside, for the same price. My clubmate was recently driven batty when his sister expressed interest in a Peloton and he couldn't talk her in to a real bike.
I have a similar feeling. My sister who is still working but at retirement age (and has disposable income) asked me about trainers and Zwift, knowing that I'm deep into both but we live many miles apart so spoke on the phone regarding this subject. I tried to explain the advantages as I see them of using Zwift and also tried to give her an understanding of why getting a wheel on trainer and using one of her (seldom used if ever) bicycles on said trainer would be a budget solution to the problem of indoor training. I offered to have her (and my BIL) come over and try my set up and see for herself exactly what I'm doing and take a test ride.

No, she wouldn't do that rather she bought basically a stationary bike, a $900 stationary bike which will communicate with Zwift (or whatever app you like) but as far as I can tell it isn't truly supported by any of these apps giving the user the many benefits of a power meter. So now that she has this stationary bike she is talking about getting a brand new hybrid bicycle to ride the MUPS next spring. In her defense she seems to be enjoying her workout bike and more importantly she is using it so I think using something that isn't the smartest purchase is better than making a smart purchase and not using it. To each his own as they say.

Last edited by Thomas15; 11-05-20 at 07:55 AM.
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Old 11-05-20, 08:06 AM
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To the OP question. I have a friend that lives about a mile from me, he is new to cycling but infected and we ride together quite a bit. He has worthy goals for next summer and sees the need to train over the winter inside. This guy has several bikes, all collected in the 6 months he has been riding, one of them is CF and electronic shifting, he has a good income stream.

I have been looking around on his behalf for both used trainers and new, I have had very little success. New wheel on trainers like the Wahoo Kickr Snap are hard to locate. Anyway my friend is determined to buy (an available) very low end wheel on smart trainer which is somewhat limited in features and he is resisting my urging to be patient and get one that is going to satisfy more in the long term. So this is a situation where someone is going to put a high end bike on a low end trainer. A bit frustrating to me but his call not mine.
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Old 11-05-20, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by hsuBM
People are happy to spend 60-90% of their time at the slopes sitting on a cold bench in the air to just ski/board down a hill but aren’t curious about learning to ride a road bike on winter roads.
.
I gave it an honest try for a few years, but this year became part of the problem and got a trainer.
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Old 11-06-20, 08:09 PM
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I pedaled with a woman this morning that recently drove 2.5 hours to pick up some sort of smart trainer, because the market is apparently so tight.
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Old 11-06-20, 09:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15
To the OP question. I have a friend that lives about a mile from me, he is new to cycling but infected and we ride together quite a bit. He has worthy goals for next summer and sees the need to train over the winter inside. This guy has several bikes, all collected in the 6 months he has been riding, one of them is CF and electronic shifting, he has a good income stream.

I have been looking around on his behalf for both used trainers and new, I have had very little success. New wheel on trainers like the Wahoo Kickr Snap are hard to locate. Anyway my friend is determined to buy (an available) very low end wheel on smart trainer which is somewhat limited in features and he is resisting my urging to be patient and get one that is going to satisfy more in the long term. So this is a situation where someone is going to put a high end bike on a low end trainer. A bit frustrating to me but his call not mine.

Wahoo is showing the Kickr Core in stock and they are allowing orders on it. They also seem to have some reconditioned one they are selling. Everything else seems to be out of stock.

https://www.wahoofitness.com/devices
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Old 11-06-20, 09:51 PM
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I got the Saris (H3) in Feb and have enjoyed it. I'm about half indoors these days. I like how controlled and safe it is. It's not nearly as good as actual road cycling of course, but it's not bad and certainly worlds better than the pre-smart trainer days.
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Old 11-08-20, 06:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Nachoman
I pedaled with a woman this morning that recently drove 2.5 hours to pick up some sort of smart trainer, because the market is apparently so tight.
My LBS just posted that they have a half-dozen or so, so it seems it shouldn't be THAT bad.
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Old 11-09-20, 02:44 PM
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Speaking of this, do people think there will be any black Friday sales on trainers? Or is the expectation that with inventory so low and demand still up that they aren't going to allow discounts on them? Was planning to wait, but given what I am hearing, I'm not expecting to see a discount this year.

Also, is it true that if you buy a trainer from one of their websites (i.e. Wahoo, Saris) and it has issues, they will make you pay the cost to return their faulty product to them? I saw they had some refurbed cores for $120 cheaper, but given the number of issues I've heard about, having to pay the cost to send it back once would almost warrant just buying from an LBS and letting them deal with the return.

Edit: Trying to decide between the Core and the H3. My LBS doesn't sell the H3 any more, but another one about an hour drive away does.

Last edited by am0n; 11-09-20 at 02:49 PM.
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Old 11-09-20, 03:18 PM
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With limited availability it would probably not be any black Friday sales. If they don’t have units it’s hard to have a sale.
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Old 11-09-20, 03:43 PM
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FWIW, Cape Bicycle and Fitness in Cape Girardeau, MO has a small inventory of Wahoo smart trainers. Good folks, they'll ship.
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Old 11-11-20, 08:50 PM
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I bought a reconditioned Kickr from Wahoo - $300 off and comes with a year warranty. It arrived this past Monday. The unit itself looks brand new, I could not find as much as a scuff on it. The accessories (power supply, etc.) had obviously been re-packaged. I've got two rides on it and it works great!

The reconditioned Kickr units are 2018 (v4) models. Based on the DC Rainmaker reviews that I read, the differences between v4 and v5 are not that great...at least not great enough to make me want to wait 1-2 months for a v5.
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Old 11-13-20, 01:51 PM
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Called my LBS and they said they had 30 Kickr Cores in stock. Then noticed today REI had a 20% off coupon, which my LBS honored. So, got my holiday discount after all.
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Old 11-13-20, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by am0n
Called my LBS and they said they had 30 Kickr Cores in stock. Then noticed today REI had a 20% off coupon, which my LBS honored. So, got my holiday discount after all.
That was very nice of them, considering the REI coupon does not apply to trainers.
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Old 11-13-20, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by cuevélo
That was very nice of them, considering the REI coupon does not apply to trainers.
It does, actually. I put it into my cart online and it applied the discount.

Edit: When I just checked, trainers were no longer valid, but earlier today they were (on my PC and phone).

Last edited by am0n; 11-13-20 at 07:09 PM.
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Old 11-13-20, 09:01 PM
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Originally Posted by eduskator
I thought there was a real shortage of bicycles in the industry this year when I was shopping for one, until I started shopping for a trainer.

First of all, the LBSs around sold all of their Tacx and Wahoo trainers and have pre-sold the ones they are expecting to receive in the first weeks of November. Customers who want to pre-order now are expected to receive their product in February 2021, which is 2-3 months into Winter and 2 months away from being able to ride outside again.

On their side, Merlin Cycle & CCC have removed some of their trainers for international buyers. No more Tacx or Wahoo can be purchased from Canada. Not sure if it's still an option for a buyer from the US of A.

I have a pretty good idea of what's going on (from both a logical and economical perspective), but I thought I'd open the discussion for others who would also be in my position.

There's one thing we can't refute: 2020 = the year where a lot of people started cycling.
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